Former Thomasville player finds new home
The Kansas City Royals and Tampa Bay Rays shook up Major League Baseball on Sunday with a blockbuster trade.
At the center of it was Thomasville native Wil Myers, rated at the time of the trade as the Royals' top prospect by Baseball America. Myers is a converted catcher who will now find a home in Tampa as a corner outfielder.
Having spent four years in Kansas City's farm system, the product of High Point's Wesleyan Christian Academy has hit at every level along the way. His crowning achievement thus far in his young career came this season when he was named USA Today's Minor League Player of the Year.
Accolades have followed Myers since he inked a lucrative signing bonus as the 91st overall pick in the 2009 MLB Draft, so it does beg the question: Why did the Royals trade him?
Major league scouts generally agree blue-chip positional prospects are most coveted and carry a steeper price tag than even frontline starters. A frontline starter is exactly what Kansas City received in pitcher James Shields, a former All-Star whose makeup slots into the top of the Royal rotation. But at what cost?
The barely-legal Myers (he turned 22 on Monday) represented a potential cornerstone player for a franchise wrought with decades of futility. Not only did Kansas City General Manager Dayton Moore trade the emerging star of a faceless franchise, but a host of others who could nullify the loss of Shields and Wade Davis — also included in the deal — in the Rays' rotation.
Triple-A teammates of Myers, Jake Odorizzi and Mike Montgomery are nearly major league ready and will join an already-impressive collection of talent in Tampa's system. With David Price, Matt Moore and Jeremy Hellickson already locked into the rotation for next season, the Rays' most recent acquisitions will battle for two final spots on their pitching staff.
Meanwhile, the Royals have mortgaged their future — again. Perhaps Moore was feeling pressure to make a splash now in a generation defined by instant gratification. And perhaps afternoons spent watching Myers launch home runs over the fence at nearby Ed Price Field in High Point has created some sense of inherent bias which clouds my evaluation of this trade.
For now, though, this appears to be a shortsighted decision intended to push Kansas City to the brink of the postseason for the first time since 1985. If Myers becomes the every-day outfielder many expect him to be, it could simply be the move that defines the next decade of futility.
Staff Writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 888-3575, or firstname.lastname@example.org.